The 5-Year Rigpe Dorje Philosophy Program
(2017 - 2021)


A Curriculum for Progressing towards Liberation

As always has been, and always will be, the heart wish of all living beings is to be utterly devoid of suffering and never to part from true happiness. The one complete and unmistaken method to fill the empty chalice of this cherished hope to overflowing is assurance in the scriptural and realized canon of the peerless Shakyamuni Buddha.

Why is that? The cause of samsara is certainly our mistaken system of view and conduct with respect to the two truths: apparent reality (the way all known things appear to be) and genuine reality (the way things actually exist). What’s more, our ageless habit of engaging in this mistaken system automatically, even instinctively, is tenacious and difficult to counteract.

For this reason, it is vital to actively choose nirvana over samsara, by relinquishing misguided views and conduct — that is, those contrary to the way things actually appear and exist. This is why the Victor instructs that three pure principles comprise the very heart of practice: first, the view which assesses the two truths accurately; second, meditative habituation to suffuse the mindstream with that view; and third, behaviour in synchrony with this confident view and conduct.

Therefore, having the prerequisites for entering into this triad of authentic view, authentic meditation, and authentic conduct is the way to attain the enlightenment consisting of the plenitude of happiness and the definitive end to absolutely all suffering. In other words, it depends on learning this approach. The sole instruction presenting this system completely, unmistakably, and in orderly progression, however, are the Buddha’s explicit teachings, together with the commentaries elucidating their intent. Thus, exhaustive study and contemplation of those teachings are uniquely appropriate for those ardent for liberation.

To that end, the Rigpe Dorje Institute has crafted the following five-year curriculum of philosophy study, providing an approachable method for penetrating the two truths and ascending to the heights of gathering the two-fold accumulations and manifesting the two kayas in a complete and orderly progression.

2017 September 9 to November 18

Ascertaining that all phenomena of apparent reality are mind

As a first step, the best approach for penetrating genuine reality is to ascertain thoroughly the actual condition of what appears conventionally — that all phenomena are mind. The philosophy of the Cittamatra, or Mind-Only school, is the consummate expression of this principle. Thus, we begin the program with Vasubhandu’s Thirty Stanzas or Sum Chu Pa, a superb presentation of this system.

SECOND & THIRD YEARS (2018, 2019)
2018 September 15 to November 13 & 2019 September 7 to November 5

Ascertaining genuine reality through inference

Our next step towards penetrating genuine reality is to conclusively ascertain an approximation of genuine reality, by cutting through the conceptual constructs of apparent reality through inferential reasoning. To do so, in the Second and Third Years, we will present Aryadeva’s dbu ma bzhi brgya pa or Four Hundred Verses on the Middle Way, along with the commentary by Bötrül Rinpoche, to elucidate the Prasangika, or Rangtong philosophical tenets.

FOURTH & FIFTH YEARS (2020, 2021)

Ascertaining genuine reality directly

Finally, we arrive at Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye’s Lion’s Roar, his commentary on the rGyud bLa Ma, Mahayana Uttaratantrashastra or Sublime Continuum of the Mahayana, the paramount declaration for conclusively ascertaining genuine reality directly, without approximation. This is emptiness replete with all supreme aspects — genuine reality that is by nature the luminous expanse.


Teachings in Tibetan with English translation. Students in the philosophy program are required to attend all teachings and at least the scripture and / or one language class. In addition to class time, students of philosophy are encouraged to arrange time for personal reflection and meditation on the teachings. Students in the meditation program are required to attend all the teachings and practice sessions.

Residency in Pullahari is an integral part of the program experience. In exceptional circumstances, alternative residency may be acceptable but a non-residential surcharge is required.

Correct Conduct is encouraged throughout the period of the programs as right ethical conduct is the basis of all the qualities of knowledge. A respectful attitude towards the monastic environment and others in the assembly is essential. Use of intoxicants is strictly prohibited.

Scripture and Tibetan Language classes are conducted in English, Tibetan, or both, as specified in the individual class descriptions outlined in the program. Intermediate and advanced classes require extensive study, including required homework, and examinations.

Personal interviews with Drupon Khenpo Lodro Namgyal will be arranged and scheduled.


Rigpe Dorje Program Coordinator
Khenpo Chokey Gyaltsen

Pullahari Monastery
Jagdol, Budhanilkantha-11
P.O. Box 11015, Kathmandu

Tel: +977 (1) 6201550